Sunday, August 4, 2013

Giants Race Support Crew

Today: 7
Present: 364
Count: 53

Chilly race day, dropped Maura off near the starting line at 6:30am. I wasn't racing today -- pulled crew and cheering duty. Cloudy, mid-50s: perfect running weather. I hustled back home to pick up Luchi, Maura's brother, so we could drop the car off near the finish line and run down Embarcadero to meet her on the way back.

Warming up with a slow jog, the Achilles felt good. But it was cold, and as I picked it up a bit passing 10k finishers at AT&T, it started to tighten up and I felt a tinge of pain. Crap. I backed it off, focusing on my form. It felt a bit better so I kept going, further than I had originally planned.

The one blessing in disguise of a bum Achilles is that it really makes me focus on running correctly, minimizing impact.

I sent Luchi off on his own around Pier 39, expecting to walk for a while waiting for him to track Maura down, turn around and run with her back towards the finish. They arrived sooner than expected -- typical Maura, one month into training and already trying to beat her PR. I can't say I blame her though, may as well.

I fell in stride and promptly forgot about my sore Achilles. Amazing what a little race day adrenaline will do, even if you're not racing. Maura was holding a strong pace, even at mile 11. I was really proud. I know exactly how you feel at that point and it isn't good. She asked me to stay ahead of her so she could follow, which I was happy to do. My leg felt great. No pain, no tightness. Its as if picking up the pace a bit actually helped. It didn't hurt to be back in the pack again.

We strode along the Embarcadero and I felt like I was escorting a celebrity. Me running point, Luchi behind (really he was struggling to keep up after a year of traveling and eating his way through South America). Luchi and I peeled off just before the runners entered the stadium. And as we stood for a while cheering on the finishers, I witnessed a strange incident.

The finish being inside the stadium, security was pretty tight getting in. They were checking bibs on the runners as they went past and sure enough, a girl didn't have her bib. And they wouldn't let her in. She had her race shirt, had clearly run the whole race but they wouldn't let her finish. 100 yards from the end. She could literally see the finish line.

She pleaded. She had lost the bib. She begged. She cried. A lot. But they wouldn't let her in.

And even though most of me wanted them to let her in (I even jeered the security guard a bit), I get it. He was just doing his job, and more to the point, after Boston you just can't break the rules. Its a sad commentary on the world we live in, but its the only one we've got.

She came back 10 minutes later with a fresh bib, flashed it in the security guard's face (as is her right), and sped off to the finish line. I heard the guard later tell a colleague, "I made a girl cry, man. I made a girl cry." But ultimately he did the right thing, as much as I hate to say it.

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